Flight: Canned for your safety

Last night I was super excited to go flying this week – twice! Today at 1 PM I was scheduled to take the Beech Sundowner up for a spin or two trip or two around the traffic pattern.

Unfortunately, I got called in to work. My job comes with occasional on-call time, and last night just happened to be my call AND a night where I was needed. So, come 11 PM, off I trudged to my job…my only real motivation to keep this job is to pay for my flying. Feed the addiction.

Since I work until 7 (really 730 or 8) AM, I knew I was only going to get four or five hours of sleep at the MOST if I still went flying at 1. That’s enough for me to function day to day, but not enough to safely operate an airplane. Realistically, I’m looking at two or three hours of dreamland. Not enough.

I thought about moving my flight up a few hours, but it gets dark earlier these days and I hate feeling rushed. When I reflect on mistakes I’ve made while flying, they all seem to have the common denominator of me getting into a hurry; I therefore strive to avoid hurry in all aspects of my flying, from preflight to tiedown. Rushing will only make me screw up more.

Ultimately, I decided to can my flight because of Human Factors. I’m not safe to fly on this little sleep. Operating an airplane would put me, my instructor, the airplane, and anyone in our path in harm’s way and that’s not okay. The first part of the preflight is really the pilot, and since today the pilot is experiencing a night-shift hangover, the best decision I can make is to stay on the ground.

This is an extra hard flight to can because the sky is blue, the air is cool, and the wind is a gentle zephyr (relative to Chicago.) I guess I will just have to enjoy this beautiful day from the ground and hope that my appointment with the Piper tomorrow is met with equally favorable meteorology.


2 thoughts on “Flight: Canned for your safety

  1. Good call! I know it’s tough, but I too find myself victim to mistakes when I rush a preflight or forgo a call to the weather briefer. I guess what they say holds true – better to be on the ground wishing you were up there than being up there wishing you were down here! Hope it works out!

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